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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Community

Dictionary.com provides cause for reflection on the difference between a congregation and a community. Out of the many definitions offered, consider the following.

Community: a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists.

Congregation: 1. A body of assembled people or things; a gathering.
2. A group of people gathered for religious worship.

People long to be part of a community. We want to feel understood, loved and valued by a group within which we feel deeply and personally connected. We want to know we are accepted by this group no matter what. We want to know there are people we can count on when we need help, whether that help is to carry boxes when we move, or assistance with some ministry or cause. And when we feel that connection, we are willing to help other members of our community in the same way.

It is to community we are called, not congregation. (Community of Christ, your name, given as a divine blessing is your identity and calling. - D. & C. 163:1) So how do we create communities of people that deeply share common interests, but that are distinct from the larger society within which we exist? Do the methods used fifty or one hundred years ago still work? What works for people now? For those who will be attending “Family & Friends” this weekend at Erie Beach Reunion Grounds, we will have a chance to explore this topic together!

4 comments:

  1. Oopps, I meant to invite you to share times and ways you have felt powerfully connected in community. When, where, and how did that happen? Do you still feel as connected now as you did then? We are trying to understand how community happens, and your contribution to the conversation will be a blessing to all of us. Now over to you!

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  2. I started to write a comment on this topic when I first read it; then erased it as I felt it was inadequate. Perhaps we mentally do that to often with this particular topic. We have struggled with our calling to community throughout the generations. I'm sure many of you are aware of the various foci. Place, condition, organizational structure.
    Obviously the call is to not give up the pursuit of community. There is tremendous value in a support group that encourages and supports the development of others. There are many such groups in our society. (education, fraternal organizations, social focus groups etc.)I'm thinking more of a group (community) that offers support and encouragement to the ideals of Stewardship. Ie: finances, environment, food, conservation, time, talent. Including the very important stewardship of each other. There should be room for communities within the Community as we do not all share the same interests at the same times in our lives. Nevertheless, while our personal focus may be in one or two areas, all in the Community need to be aware of the importance of support for the larger body. If we do not try we cannot succeed.
    Carmen asked when We felt powerfully connected. When I spent more effort in this direction. When some of us gathered together to explore the idea of buying property and living in closer proximity and support to each other. When I was younger more idealistic and had been bitten fewer times. And yes, I miss those days too.
    Just my ramblings.

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  3. There should be room for communities within the community...I agree.

    Often we seem to see agendas, processes, organizations and structures being managed as if they were more important than the people. We seem to feel we have to stick to the agenda rather than support the person who is hurting. Sometimes it would be better to forget about being efficient in order to be effective.

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  4. I guess my question would be about the relationship of our traditional congregational worship services and community. Does a worship "program" promote real community, or does it actually detract from community?

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